This remarkable testament to the native peoples of the North American plains was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1981.
This was after archaeological evidence showed that the site was used repeatedly for traditional buffalo hunts for nearly 6,000 years.
The plains people would dress as wolves or foxes and spend days carefully herding the buffalo, finally stampeding them over a ten meter high cliff. This age-old practice was stopped almost overnight in the 19th century when horses were introduced, making it easy for individuals to hunt without involving the entire tribe.
The site’s name doesn’t quite mean what you might expect. It comes from the tale of a brave who waited below the cliff to get a different view of the buffalos as they flew into the air: not, in retrospect, such a good idea.
While in the area it is also worth visiting Fort Macleod, a historic outpost of the North West Mounted Police who were dispatched in 1874 to bring order to the west.
Map of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
- Claresholm 22 miles away
- Waterton Lakes National Park 48 miles away
- Fernie 65 miles away
- Calgary 96 miles away
- Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park 102 miles away
- The Purcell Mountains 117 miles away
- Dinosaur Provincial Park 121 miles away
- Canmore 122 miles away
- Banff 133 miles away
- The Kootenays 137 miles away
- Lake Louise 163 miles away
- Yoho National Park 168 miles away
- Field 172 miles away
- Kyle 261 miles away
- Edmonton 266 miles away
- Naramata & Okanagan Valley 267 miles away
- Jasper 292 miles away